Out with the Old:  How to Handle the EDI Migration Process

Finally, your company is ditching that legacy EDI software that you’ve spent many frustrating years toiling with since starting your position. While you’re elated to finally watch that old EDI software go the way of the dinosaur, there is one problem that lingers in your mind — the painstaking EDI migration process.  

Changing EDI providers or software can be a daunting task, it requires clear communication and cooperation among various teams within the company and there are bound to be minor technical hiccups along the way. But, if you follow a clear and organized approach, your EDI migration process will be smooth and easy

Primary Motivators for EDI Migration

Whether your company is experiencing data exchange performance troubles, onboarding challenges, or a limited functional range – you’ll need a robust EDI migration strategy to ensure optimal results. Let’s take a look at some of the primary instigators for undergoing a start-to-finish EDI migration process.

  1. Outdated Technology: Legacy EDI systems may lack modern features and automation capabilities, hindering efficiency and growth.
  2. Limited Integration: Older systems might struggle to integrate with newer applications and technologies, causing data silos.
  3. Inflexible Customization: Older EDI systems may not adapt easily to changing business requirements or emerging standards.
  4. Compliance and Industry Standards: Upgrading to a new EDI solution ensures compliance with the latest industry regulations and standards.
  5. Competitive Advantage: A modern EDI solution can give your business a competitive edge by improving overall operational efficiency. 

Every industry has its own unique hurdles to navigate throughout the EDI migration process – as certain motivators may play larger roles than others.

Industry-Specific Considerations

Some of the most challenging EDI migration plans involve companies within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, as they often oversee a wide number of SKUs and have many retail partners with whom they supply. FMCG companies often work with many different EDI systems and handle numerous message types and standards while sending important data about the merchandise they are sending to their retail partners — all of whom seem to have different ways of doing business. For this reason, it is important for an FMCG company to take a premeditated approach to the switch.

After all the necessary people at your organization are on board to make the switch to a new EDI provider and new software (if your old EDI software was in-house), you will begin the planning stages of the migration.

Planning the initial steps and approach you want to take should be done internally as every company’s message exchange and EDI process is unique. Only you and your colleagues truly know the ins and outs of your systems and understand what you want from a new EDI provider. Outsourcing this step can remove visibility from the process and affect decision-making. This is not to say you shouldn’t seek an external expert to get some tips, however.

Now, let’s dive into the EDI migration process and how your company can prepare for major changes to your Electronic Data Interchange strategy. 

Your 5-Step EDI Migration Process

1. Planning Phase:

  • Internal Assessment: Evaluate your current EDI systems, message exchanges, and processes. Identify pain points and specific requirements for a new EDI provider.
  • Collaborative Decision Making: Involve key stakeholders from various departments to ensure a holistic approach to the migration process.
  • Seek External Expertise: While keeping the decision-making internal, consulting with external experts can provide valuable insights and best practices. 

2. Analysis Phase:

  • Data Mapping: Create a comprehensive map of your existing data format to the new EDI standard required by the chosen provider.
  • Identify Integration Points: Determine areas where the new EDI solution needs to integrate with your existing systems and applications.
  • Define Data Validation Rules: Establish rules for data accuracy and integrity to prevent errors during migration. 

3. Vendor Research Phase:

  • Define Selection Criteria: Outline the essential features and capabilities required from the new EDI provider, such as support for multiple message types and standards, scalability, and automation capabilities.
  • Shortlist Potential Providers: Research and narrow down the list of potential EDI vendors that align with your criteria.
  • Request for Proposals (RFP): Send RFPs to the shortlisted vendors to gather detailed information about their offerings and pricing. 

4. Implementation Phase:

  • Pilot Testing: Begin with a small-scale pilot migration to identify any potential issues and ensure smooth data flow.
  • Data Migration: Transfer your EDI data from the old system to the new one while ensuring data accuracy and completeness.
  • Integration Testing: Verify that the new EDI solution integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and applications. 

5. Training and Support:

  • User Training: Provide comprehensive training to all relevant staff members who will be working with the new EDI solution.
  • Post-Migration Support: Offer continuous support to address any issues or challenges that may arise during the early stages of implementation. 

Benefits of an EDI Migration Strategy and Implementation:

  • Enhanced Efficiency: A modern EDI solution streamlines processes, reduces manual intervention, and increases overall efficiency. 
  • Error Reduction: Automation capabilities and data validation rules minimize errors, leading to more accurate and reliable data exchange. 
  • Advanced Business Insights: Advanced analytics and business intelligence dashboards offer valuable insights into supply chain performance and partner relationships. 
  • Improved Partner Relations: A seamless and efficient EDI process strengthens relationships with retail partners and other stakeholders. 
  • Scalability: A new EDI solution can accommodate the growing needs of your business, ensuring scalability for the future.

Start Building Your EDI Migration Strategy 

EDI migration can be a significant undertaking, especially for FMCG and CPG companies handling numerous SKUs and working with diverse retail partners. However, with careful planning, vendor research, and step-by-step implementation, the process can be successful, yielding benefits such as improved efficiency, error reduction, and better business insights. 

The best EDI solutions available today not only offer classic EDI migration strategies, but also automation capabilities and advanced business intelligence dashboards allowing you to see things like average delivery time per partner or the average number of incorrect orders thereby allowing you to improve your supply chain as well as your relationship with business partners.

Be sure to check out our new whitepaper about EDI migration to learn about navigating the challenges of the EDI migration process and how to best plan your EDI migration strategy including the best step-by-step practices to follow for a successful switch to a new EDI provider. 

How Can Comarch Help You? 

By choosing the right EDI provider and formulating a comprehensive strategy, your company can embrace a modern EDI solution that aligns with your unique business requirements and sets you on the path to continued growth and success in the ever-evolving business landscape. 

Comarch EDI is a comprehensive solution for businesses that want to streamline their EDI process. We leverage state-of-the-art technologies to help organizations save time and money while empowering business relations. Find out more about EDI software and its benefits today. 

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